So yields to French foe, Carlsen pulls away in Champs Chess Tour Grand Finals

Published September 27, 2021, 1:24 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Wesley So

Grandmaster Wesley So yielded to old nemesis Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, 2.5-0.5, to fall farther behind leader Magnus Carlsen after two rounds in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Grand Finals Sunday.

It was a stinging defeat for the two-time United States champion So as Vachier-Lagreve continued to dominate him in their head-to-head encounter.

The defeat cost So as it allowed Carlsen to stretch his lead from four points to six with 21.5 points. The Cavite-born American, meanwhile, has 15.5 points.

Carlsen gained two points after a hard-earned triumph over Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a showdown that was decided by an Armageddon playoff.

So, meanwhile, said he is moving on from the loss to Vachier-Lagrave.

“I just want to take it one round at a time, the tournament is very long,” said So in the tournament website interview.

Truly, the nine-round tournament is a long and arduous one as each will play a four-game set per round and a two-game blitz tiebreaker and, if necessary, an Armageddon playoff per round.

So faces Mamedyarov in the third round.

In the other results, Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda turned back the Netherland’s Anish Giri, 2.5-1.5; United States’ Hikaru Nakamura edged Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov, 3.5-2.5; and Armenia’s Levon Aronian trounced Russia’s Vladislav Artemiev, 2.5-1.5.

Aronian currently trails behind So at third place with 12 points, Radjabov is at fourth with 8 points, followed by Giri and Vachier-Lagrave with identical 7.5 points, Nakamura with 7, Artemiev with 5.5, Duda with 3 and Mamedyarov with 1.5.

So made it to the finale by finishing second overall behind Tour leader Carlsen after topping three legs—the Skilling Open, the Euro Opera Rapid and the Chessable Masters.

 
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